Whoever said “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” has obviously never been to Paraguay, where the food is not only cheap but delicious and drool-worthy and where it’s possible to eat every meal like a king!
In October 2014, I had the opportunity from Gadventures to travel through a few countries in South America. While Paraguay was never on the plan, I found out whilst staying in Foz do Iguazu (which is the Brazilian city at the border of The Iguazu Falls) that Paraguay was literally a 1-hour walk away. The rules were mild, I wouldn’t require a visa and I could literally just walk across the Ponte Tancredo Neves (The Friendship Bridge) from Brazil into Paraguay.
So I decided to do it! When will a golden opportunity to walk across countries and international borders arise again? To get to the second largest city in Paraguay, Ciudad del Este, all I had to do was cross the bridge which took about 30 minutes to climb and descend.
How could I not take advantage of being a stone’s throw away to Paraguay? Why not go to Paraguay for lunch? It would take two hours at max and that’s how I walked from Brazil to Paraguay to eat my heart out.
After crossing over to Paraguay I was happy to realize three things:
- I was rich!! Because 1 INR = 74.26 Guarani
- This was my chance to have breakfast in Argentina, lunch in Paraguay and dinner in Brazil – 3 meals in 3 different countries!
- I had the opportunity to explore the Paraguayan Sunday food market.
Here’s a list of everything I ate:-
When in South America, start your meal with an empanada – it is a stuffed bread or pastry that is baked or fried and is usually filled with carne (beef).
Sopa Paraguaya is a rich and tasty cornbread with bits and pieces of meat that are often marinated with garlic and lime. Don’t miss out on it if you get the chance!
Mbeju is a mandioca starch- and Paraguayan cheese-based flatbread. This high-calorie bread is a staple of the Paraguayan and Northeast Argentinian diet. Chipa is a bread baked in an outdoor oven, usually made out of mandioca (manioc) flour.
There are more herds of cattle in Paraguay than there are people. As a result, Paraguayans eat lots of beef! An ‘asado’ is a cookout or BBQ, and it is the favourite meal of most Paraguayans.The steak makes for a perfect main course.
TererÈ could be considered the national beverage of Paraguay. You can see every type of Paraguayan (from construction workers to business executives) carry their terere set during all times.It is an infusion of yerba mate with cold water. It is drunk from a shared cup called a guampa with a metal straw or bombilla. Its taste is akin to a bitter green tea, and needs to be an acquired taste in order to be enjoyed. It was free because one often is invited by the locals to sit in a circle while the guampa is passed around for a sip and some light conversation.
USD 6 = INR 368.34
I was stuffed but I knew that the walk back to Brazil would burn the calories off and o’ boy, had I earned that meal! 😉
I doubt that there are many places in the world where the borders are lenient and visas aren’t required. But if there were, our only weapons of destruction would be a spoon, fork and a sense of curiosity of what is served on the other side.